Kerala's opposition leader fails to placate miffed senior Sudheeran who quit PAC

Former KPCC president V M Sudheeran

Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran Congress leader V M Sudheeran is unlikely to reconsider his decision to quit the party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) despite the state leadership initiating reconciliatory talks. Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan met the former KPCC president at his home here on Sunday, soon after KPCC president K Sudhakaran said the party would request Sudheeran to recall his resignation.

After the visit, Satheesan said he had gone to meet Sudheeran to explain his version of the happenings in the party and to apologise for the mistakes from his side. Sudheeran did not talk to the media after the meeting with Satheesan. “I'm no one to make him reconsider a decision he has taken. I know him very well. He stands firm on his stances. Not even 10 Satheesans can make him recall his decision,” Satheesan said.

Earlier in the day, KPCC president K Sudhakaran told the media that he will request Sudheeran to withdraw his resignation. Sudheeran had on Saturday submitted his resignation letter to Sudhakaran. He did not make public the reason behind his decision, however, speculations were rife that he was not happy with the way the new leadership, headed by Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan, functions.

“We will ask Sudheeran to withdraw his resignation. We will listen to his concerns and try to resolve them. We want him to continue as a part of the party,” Sudhakaran said. He, however, did not clarify the reasons behind Sudheeran's issue. “They need not be discussed with media. The issue would be resolved internally by the party.” 

TV reports said the AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala Tariq Anwar will also meet Sudheeran on Sunday. Anwar is in Thiruvananthapuram as the party is set to start the talks over the restructuring of the Pradesh Congress Committee. 

Anwar said he will visit Sudheeran and address his concerns. It is learned that the AICC wants the state leadership to initiate reconciliation talks with Sudheeran. Known for his non-corrupt and idealist image, Sudheeran often stands firm on his convictions. This has led to differences of opinions with other top leaders in the past too.

The state leadership initiated the reconciliation efforts even as more senior leaders came in support of Sudheeran. Former Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Sudheeran's presence was a must in the PAC. “In the past, his stances in the PAC has helped the party several times,” he said. Former chief minister Oommen Chandy had also said that Sudheeran should not have resigned from PAC.

UDF convener M M Hassan on Sunday said Sudheeran's decision to resign was unfortunate. 

It is learned that Sudheeran was not happy with the selection process of the party's district chiefs. He was critical of Sudhakaran for not convening the PAC to discuss the restructuring process, TV reports said.

Sudheeran had to step down as PCC president following the party's rout in the 2016 assembly polls in which Chandy was unseated from power. Sudheeran was picked as PCC president by the AICC as he did not belong to either of the A or I factions headed by Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala respectively. As PCC president he had a tough going as factional managers had a strong grip over the organisation. The latest reforms within the party, including the appointment of Sudhakaran and Satheesan, threatened the existing power structures within the party and it led to the coming together of Chandy and Chennithala who used to head the rival factions. Sudhakaran and Satheesan have met the two senior leaders and have been trying to take them along even as they kept sulking over the appointment of the new DCC presidents.

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